Clarification on Viral Messages Regarding Rotary Club’s Cardiac Surgery Program Linked with LRH!

Misleading Social

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Social media platforms serve as powerful tools for disseminating crucial messages quickly among society. They offer unparalleled reach, allowing information to spread rapidly. However, the downside is that messages can often become distorted or misrepresented as they circulate through various online channels over a period of time. This distortion can stem from deliberate manipulation, misinterpretation, or simply the fast-paced nature of social media communication. Let’s look at one such instance regarding a viral message circulated in Sri Lanka over the past couple of years.

Social Media Posts 

A viral social media message claims that the Rotary Club Colombo West received a $15 million grant for cardiac surgeries in India and is currently transferring children to LRH – Colombo for treatment.

FB | Archived

It`s viral on WhatsApp, too.

We noticed these messages have been getting shared since 2022. Here is the same message from 2022.

We decided to do a fact-check on this.  


First, we contacted the Rotary Club Colombo West spokesperson regarding these viral messages. He clarified that this misleading message had been in circulation since 2022, and a clarification notice was issued by the Rotary Club Colombo West in April 2022, as seen here.

Grant Amount: As confirmed by a Rotary Club spokesperson, the actual grant amount received by the Rotary Club Colombo West is only USD 200,000, significantly less than the USD 15 million mentioned in the viral message.

Project Timeline & Details: The Rotary Club of Colombo West (RCCW) signed an MOU with the Ministry of Health in December 2021, with the key intention of sending 75 children suffering from complicated heart ailments to India for surgery, free of charge. The project’s implementation started in May 2022 and included components for training Cardiac ICU nurses and doctors and workshops on Fetal Echocardiography. The partner hospital for this project in India is Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Center, Kochi. 

We checked the Rotary Club’s social handles and noticed several announcements related to this project, which included several batches of sending off of infant patients along with their families for heart surgeries and doctor and nurse training. More on these here, here and here. Mainstream media coverage of these events is here and here.

Regarding the project’s current status, RCCW spokesman said that approximately 50 out of 75 children have already been transferred for treatment, with some ongoing transfers.

We also noticed other announcements of the Rotary Club sponsoring several children for heart surgery in leading private hospitals in Sri Lanka and India over the last five years with similar grants and donations.

We then contacted the LRH regarding the viral message. As per the data we gathered from them,

Child Transfer Process: The LRH officials said that instead of continuously calling or visiting LRH and inquiring about ways to get enlisted for the program, interested individuals should first consult with cardiologist consultants at government or private hospitals where the infant patients are receiving treatment. These consultants will assess the child’s suitability for the program and direct them to LRH if appropriate. 

Selection Criteria: Only children with specific types of cardiac diseases, as determined by cardiologist consultants, are being considered for transfer to India for treatment.

Dr. Aravinda Dissanayake: While Dr. Aravinda Dissanayake was mentioned as the coordinator in the viral post, he is no longer at LRH and has left the hospital. Therefore, individuals should consult with current medical professionals involved in the program.

Therefore, it is essential to be vigilant in disseminating important messages and announcements on social media platforms. If the full context of the message is not clearly portrayed, it could lead to misinformation and misrepresentations, and the personnel really in need of such services could easily be misled and frustrated.

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While there is a program for sending infant patients for cardiac surgeries initiated by the Rotary Club Colombo West, there are several discrepancies in the viral message. The total grant amount is USD 200,000, not USD 15 million. Additionally, the project was launched two years ago, in May 2022, not in the upcoming  May as implied. Around 50 out of 75 children have already been transferred for treatment, with some transfers still ongoing. The process for child transfers requires consultation with cardiologist consultants at government or private hospitals, who would assess the child’s suitability for the program and direct them to LRH if appropriate.


Title:Clarification on Viral Messages Regarding Rotary Club’s Cardiac Surgery Program Linked with LRH!

Written By: Fact Crescendo Team 

Result: Misleading

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